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How do YOU eat? Integrators vs. Separators

Monday April 27, 2020

Canadian George Costanza writes:

Bacon on a burger. I normally don’t get my burgers with bacon. Not because I don’t love bacon.

But because it’s awkward and out of place in an otherwise homogenous concoction of bun, beef, and cheese. It’s the same reason I usually do no tomato and no pickles. My go-to creation at a local joint, for example, is as follows: patty, cheese, lettuce, caramelized onions, caramelized mushrooms, sriracha mayo.

And if the lettuce isn’t a butter lettuce, or if it isn’t shredded, or if there’s (gasp) stalk , it’s coming out.

I’m not against tomato and pickles, by the way. It can be done, but both need to be practically shaved and layered. This allows the juices to seep out and get mixed in with the rest of the burger and get to the right temperature.

The last thing I want is to get something cold, wet, and acidic on my tongue when I have such a yummy warm, beef+cheese+bread thing going on.

Now as for the bacon. The flavour pairs great, it’s not that. It’s simply awkward to eat and doesn’t mesh well the way it’s typically presented. Here’s my answer to bacon in a burger. Two options:

Oh and the bacon always gets low-n-slow baked and dried well first.

Chopped up and mixed into the mayo. So it’s effectively a bacon mayo. You need bottom and top bun covered with a thin layer.

Chopped up and sprinkled on top of the cheese, as the cheese is melting. So that it holds tight as you munch into it.

Dear George,

You got me thinking.

Where food is concerned, you’re what I’d call an Integrator. Your goal in eating is singular. “Experience the taste of the thing”. You want to taste the “bacon burger,” if that’s what you’re having. The burger is the combination of ingredients, and that combination is what you want to taste.

When I eat with Separators—those on the other side of the spectrum—their bacon is falling all over the plate. Or their stalk of lettuce gets caught on their cheek and falls to the plate. They pick up the thing and eat it by itself. Crunch crunch. A blob of mayo, some of the cheese, whatever. They’ll enjoy it by itself.

I’m convinced that the Separator position is something like: “Foods taste better when the components are falling apart or at least individually easy to separate and enjoy on their own.” They want to kind of pull the thing apart, often literally. (To an Integrator, this can be a bit embarrassing, if not infuriating—imagine your dining partner holding up “the thing” they ordered, and pulling it apart instead of eating it as one unit!)

Integrators come with our own quirks. I think we Integrators invented processed food. Not just in the bad form, but also in the good form. Do you enjoy a good processed snack? I sure do.

But also, yeah, the bad form. Integrators can fall into this trap of wanting to eat machine food, because they think of themselves as food-experiencing machines. They want it to taste the same next time. NONE OF THE BITS SHOULD COME APART.

There’s also a novelty-pressure which means that no possible extant food can create the experience they’re hoping to enjoy next. So a new thing must be manufactured.

I wrote a short story a while back which I now recognize has some of my Integrator-preferences built in.

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